ROMNEY, W.Va. — Aaron Rule’s second stint on the Hampshire High School football coaching staff is likely to be far different than his first.

Rule, who spent the last three years as defensive coordinator at Poca, was recently unanimously approved as Hampshire’s head coach by the Hampshire County Board of Education.

Prior to his stint with the Dots, Rule was an assistant coach for two years with the Trojans.

“I was very excited because I knew from my two years up there how well the community loves their football team,” Rule said. “It’s a beautiful area and the people in the community are just very welcoming. It was proof this past weekend when my wife and daughter went up and everybody opened their arms to us. It’s awesome being able to go back up there and try to make this team and program relevant again. 

“Coach (Darren) Grace did a great job there, but he felt his time was up. He was my mentor there for two years and I look forward to coaching the tradition Hampshire High School has.”

Grace, who was Hampshire’s longest-tenured coach, submitted his letter of resignation in December 2018 following a 15-year stint as head coach and 28 years on the staff altogether.

Rule worked with the Trojans’ offensive line and defense in his first stint at Hampshire, which came after he served as an assistant collegiately at both West Virginia Tech and Alderson Broaddus.

“Every stop that I’ve been at, especially at West Virginia Tech and Alderson Broaddus, they’ve mandated that we’re the head coach of our individual position,” Rule said. “I took ownership and had a lot on my plate, especially at AB. It helped me grow and molded me into taking ownership of things. 

“At Poca, being a defensive coordinator, (head) coach (Seth) Ramsey coaches baseball there too, so during spring a lot of kids relied on my voice in the weight room while he was coaching the baseball team. It’s given me ownership and I feel like I’m ready for the position.”

The 38-year-old Rule will take over a program coming off a 2-8 season and with just 49 wins in Grace’s 15 years as head coach.

A Clendenin native and 1998 graduate of Herbert Hoover High, Rule is excited about the chance to help lead a turnaround.

“The biggest challenge will be implementing the things that I tried implementing at Poca and trying to get more student athletes out for the team,” Rule said. “Hampshire County is a very large county and some kids’ round trip is two hours, so trying to find ways to be able to get them rides, making sure they’re at school every day and that they have a ride home after weight lifting or practice. 

“There are a lot of good kids at this high school, but the distance of travel can make it not feasible for them to be a part of the team. So we’re looking for ways to try to make them be a part of the team.”

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